Dietary Supplements: How Much Do You Know?

Think you know a thing or two about dietary supplements? Are you taking calcium because it’s good for your bones? Vitamin D because you heard it was good for you?  Fish oil because someone on TV said it was good for your heart, or your brain, or your arthritis? Millions of people take one or more dietary supplements every day. In fact, some of the most common questions I get are about calcium, vitamin D and fish oil. Should you be taking a dietary supplement? Are any of them right for you? Are you wasting your money? Are you doing yourself harm by taking one or more of them? The answers are “maybe,” “maybe,” “maybe,” and “maybe.”

Before looking at individual supplements, let’s consider supplements in general. First of all, what exactly is a dietary supplement?

It’s a product taken by mouth that contains one or more ingredients not provided in sufficient quantity in your diet. It can be in tablet, capsule, liquid, gel, powder, or whatever form. It can be one or a mixture of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, plant extracts, or a host of other ingredients.

How much do you know about dietary supplements? Take this quiz and find out…..

Many of these products are natural, so they are safe. True or False?

  1. Supplements must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before being sold. True or False?
  2. The regulation of supplements is the same as drugs/medicines. True or False?
  3. You can trust that the label on a supplement tells you the exact ingredients and the amount of each. True or False?
  4. Supplements must carry warning labels about possible side effects. True or False?
  5. If a supplement works, taking more will work even better. True or False?

How do you think you did? Look for the answers in posts to come. Subscribe to the “Say No To Stroke!” newsletter and the answers will arrive in your email inbox.

Every Day …Say NO To Stroke!

AB Fraser, MD

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